Buying clothes when you have allergies

If you are anything like me, buying new clothes, whether it be jeans, shirts, dresses or other usually means that you are going to come home very itchy! I recently went clothes shopping and even just trying on 2 dresses made my body insanely itchy. I often find it takes a good wash before I can wear cloths without them causing hives all over my skin. There are a few chemicals that are often used in textile manufacturing and these can cause skin irritations ranging from mild to severe, for many people. Anytime I go shopping, I always plan to come home right after, as I know only a shower will help me. I also tend to have a lukewarm shower as having a really hot one will open my pores and often leads to more hives and feeling even itchier.

Now, buying used clothes on the other hand has its own challenges as well… If you have very sensitive skin, or are allergic to pet dander then trying on these clothes can also mean a skin irritation or allergy and may even lead to hives or even trigger asthma for some of us. I tend to be very cautious about buying used clothes, and only try on ones from friends who I know don’t have pets. But even at that… What laundry detergents did they use to clean their clothes? Did they use dryer sheets that had fragrance or were the dryer sheets fragrance free? These are all questions many of us ask ourselves. If you have found yourself pondering any of the above, then you deserve a pat on the back. It is extremely important to think ahead. To ask questions.


Why are more and more clothes irritating our skin?

I’ve been allergic to fabric dyes and textile finishes for the last 12 years. Things seem to be getting worse. I’m not talking about my skin condition, but the clothes that are for sale now have more irritating finishes and colors than ever before. More people are getting a fabric allergy and are allergic to their clothes

It’s very hard to figure out what will irritate your skin when buying new clothes. Price really is no indicator of safety. I have found expensive clothes that make me break out from irritation to the dyes and finishes just as I have problems with less expensive clothes. It’s like I have a new clothes allergy. I do find that natural fibers are safer than synthetic fibers. The dyes used in natural fibers are less irritating to my skin. Watch out for fabrics advertised as wrinkle-free and stain resistant, this “benefit” is created by using chemicals as a fabric finish. Many people are allergic to the finishes on new clothes.

I always wash my new clothes three times using a dye-free and perfume-free detergent before wearing them for the first time. I also set an extra rinse on my washing machine for all loads.

Don’t forget your towels and wash cloths. My husband pointed out that we were still using brick-red and navy blue towels, after I knew for sure I was allergic to red and blue fabric dyes.  I now use natural colored natural fiber towels and have less problems.

Try natural fiber clothes from or, The detergent I use is Nellies All Natural Laundry Soda and dryer balls, see my Allergy Comfort Zone Shop for more products I recommend:

Comment below if you have suggestions or questions.

Textile allergies- are you allergic to your clothes?

Allergies to clothing is quite common, the reaction is mostly because of the finishes or dyes used on the fabric. More and more fabric finishes are being used everyday, so more and more people are becoming allergic to clothes. This is a subject that I have been very concerned about for the last 10 years or so when my symptoms started.

Textile dermatitis is red bumpy slightly weepy skin rash, usually found in the underarm, inner thighs, inner elbows, around waist, behind knees and under tight clothing. It may dry out when it heals and flake or peel. I always tell people it’s like a bad sun burn. Red painful swollen and weepy at first, later becoming dry and itchy. It then peels or flakes and leaves a darkened, “tan” area for weeks/months. Some people can also have itchy, teary eyes and shortness of breath along with the rash.

• Cotton rarely causes an allergic reaction itself, but azo dyes, disperse dyes and formaldehyde resins used to give a non-wrinkle finish may cause sensitization. White or softly colored soft cotton that has been washed many times is a favorite of mine. has a selection of very soft untreated cotton items.
• Silk is one of my favorite fabrics, it’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It comes in many different weights for all seasons. Usually the dyes used on silk do not cause allergic reactions. Silk can be layered to protect the skin from more irritating fabrics. I get my silk at
• Polyester along with acrylic, nylon and spandex can cause irritation that could be because of the material itself or the dyes or finishes used.
• Wool may cause irritation in some people, because of the roughness of the fabric or because of a reaction to the lanolin. Cashmere does not bother me as much as regular wool, I must be a true princess.  What you can do for Textile Allergy….

Visit my Skin Allergy Comfort Store for books and products I recommend.

Are your clothes causing an itchy rash?

If you have textile dermatitis, you are not alone, more and more people are becoming sensitive to the clothes they wear. Generally, it is not the cloth itself people are allergic to, but the dyes and finishes added to the fibers. Textile dermatitis also can be caused by detergents used to wash your clothes and fabric softeners.

Colored TextilesTextile rashes usually occur at friction points on the body: Under arms, inner elbow areas, behind knees, around waist and inner thighs. Luckily it is usually the areas are hidden by clothes most of the year. The rash can damage the skin to the point that a residual change in texture and color is evident on the skin for several weeks or months after the irritating clothes are removed.

New textile technologies have recently been developed with the goal of giving additional functionality to garments. Textiles have been “improved” to protect against UV radiation, wrinkling, soiling, fading, fire retardancy and many other modern conveniences. All these technologies can cause allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. Certain dyes, especially disperse blue 106 and 124 and some red dyes which are combined in acetate and polyester clothes in all color families except pure yellow and light creams and beige.

Many blue jean brands use a blue dye that gives me a rash. I have read that Levis 501 Jeans use indigo dye which is advertised to be hypoallergenic. Levis 501s do not fit me well so I haven’t been able to test this. I find Eddie Bauer Jeans that do not cause irritation for me.

There are no guideline by the FDA for a definition for hypoallergenic. One is definitely needed for any clothing item, cleaning product or cosmetic that comes in contact with the skin. Sensitive individuals should wear 100 percent natural-based fabrics, such as, cotton, linen and silk. 100 percent silk long-sleeved undershirts and slip pants, and loose-fitting clothing really help. All of these items should be washed three times prior to wearing with a dye-free, perfume-free detergent. Also double rinse all clothes that come in direct contact with your skin.

I do all these things for my textile dermatitis and it really helps. I order 100% silk undershirts and long johns from Winter Silk. They have a full line of styles from very thin and light to heavy weight for winter warmth. I use a dye-free and perfume free detergent like Nellies Washing Soda and Natural Anti Static Dryer Ball for Dryers instead of fabric softener.

See another blog of mine with more information about what to do for rashes and irritating fabrics.  Also I have an Allergy Store on Amazon with lots of products I use and recommend.

If you have found other ways of reducing irritation from textiles, please comment below, I always appreciate comments.

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